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When I started this blog on a whim in 2011 my little one really was little. She was a one-year-old toddler who had just a couple of flights under her belt, er, diaper. Her first year of life hadn’t been the calmest one on record, and as parents we were just starting to come out of the other end of a year-long dark tunnel of sleepless nights, fear, confusion, and seemingly endless crying from her discomfort.
Travel had just started to return to the realm of not only possible, but actually fun. Since that first day of blogging in 2011, time has done what it always does, and marched on. Over the subsequent years, my Little C has flown and grown into what she is today. Today she is a five-year-old elite traveler in every sense of the word, and here on her 5th birthday, I want to write a letter to my not-so-little traveler. I’m mostly putting the letter here so I can’t lose it, but if you are still in the phases of being a new parent where travel seems like it will never again be a realistic or fun option, then maybe this will give you some hope because we’ve been there, too.
Happy Birthday! Holy smokes, five, really? Somehow overnight you magically turned from a little girl into a five-year-old full fledged “big kid”. As your mom I can’t help but be a tiny bit sad to see you growing more into your own and further away from that little one I used to hold, but for the most part is the coolest process I have ever been a part of. You have your own opinions, your own sense of humor, your own favorite activities, and a heart the size of Texas. You aren’t afraid to speak your mind, dance to your own music in front of a crowd, head off on your own adventures at school, and yet you still love to snuggle close at night with us and your blanket.
One of your favorite questions to ask me is what time is it right now in different cities. You understand fully that the world is bigger than the streets of your neighborhood, and you want to know what time it is right now in Australia, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Paris. All great choices, I must say. It’s a simple question, but it seems like your way of being connected to places near and far.
You aren’t afraid when I ask if you want to go to travel to a new place with me, but instead you often say yes before I can finish the question. At five-years-old you’ve already ridden a horse through the forest in Alaska, played with children who didn’t speak English in Paris, swam in the ocean as the sun came up in Hawaii, and walked the busy streets of Manhattan. You’ve not only done those things, you’ve done them with a twinkle in your eye and confidence in your heart. You have so many more adventures on the horizon, and I can’t wait to go on many of them with you.
At five-years-old you are also now old enough to fly without me. I know, trust me, that sounds a bit terrifying to me, too, but it’s now an option on the table. I can’t imagine there are many five-year-olds out there who are more prepared for that challenge than you, but you won’t fly solo on a plane to visit Grandma and Grandpa until you and I are both 100% ready. I’m sure that day will come before too long, but until then, I’ll be right next to you.
You are, as of very recently, a card-carrying elite traveler with United Airlines, and while that’s kind of cool on it’s own, we certainly didn’t need a plastic silver card from United to tell us you were in a special class of travelers. You earned that designation years ago all on your own by knowing when to be patient, tough, kind, and also knowing when to let me know you just can’t go any further. You’ve been an elite traveler to me for years, but as a five-year-old it’s now official beyond just what I think.
The next year will be a very exciting one for you as you officially start Kindergarten, meet lots of new people, and continue to explore places near and far. Five years ago today I couldn’t have imagined how amazing life would be with you as part of our family. I can’t wait to see what you do this next year, five years from now, and beyond. Whatever you do and wherever you go may it always be with a twinkle in your eye and confidence in your heart.
Happy Birthday, Big C.